Bruce Ailion is an Atlanta-based real estate attorney, Realtor, and managing member of ATL Investors LLC, an investment firm specializing in locating, analyzing, negotiating, acquiring, and rehabbing high cash-flow properties in metro Atlanta. Bruce, a graduate of Georgia State University and Emory University who resides in Atlanta, enjoys spending time with his wife and five children and partaking in fishing, boating, and cooking.
For more about Bruce Ailion and his investing insights, read our in-depth interview.
Do you have a hobby, unexpected skill, pastime, or fun endeavor you engage in that your clients or peers would be surprised to learn about?
Many people may not know that I'm a political junkie. In high school, I considered becoming a politician and planned on earning a degree in political science and law. But I learned that the study of political science was not the study of politics I thought it would be, so I switched to a business degree. Still, the idea of benefiting society through public service is alluring, which is why I enjoy teaching and mentoring -- even in my spare time.
Can you name a favorite film that changed your life and indicate how and why?
It's very difficult to pick one movie. I enjoy comedic satires, spy thrillers, and legal suspense films. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a favorite that offers a satirical look at life, The Big Lebowski and Ferris Bueller's Day Off question compliance with norms, and Idiocracy feels like a parody of where we are at today.
Perry Mason films and TV shows probably had the biggest influence on me, as his character motivated me to attend law school and helped form my belief that justice will triumph and deliver the underdog from a threat. And James Bond movies, particularly those starring Daniel Craig, are go-to entertainment that demonstrates how, in a complicated world, you need a complicated character with underlying core values like a commitment to country and personal integrity.
If you could take a time machine back to the past, whom would you want to meet and why?
I'd sit down with Thomas Jefferson and discuss his thoughts about what America would become and why.
If you could be someone else for a day, whom would you choose?
I think the most interesting person to be for a day would be Paul McCartney, who has had a transformative effect on music and society.
What's a fitting theme song for real estate investors?
Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" speaks to the truth about finding the right investment and the conviction to keep going. The theme from Rocky embodies the idea that we're each preparing, working, and waiting to meet opportunity and triumph. And when challenges arise, as in multiple bid situations, the Mission Impossible theme applies.
What is one thing you would change about the real estate investing market and why?
As an investor with 100 percent cash in the bank, it's harder for me to get a decent loan than a first-time buyer with little work experience or credit who can get a low-interest-rate 97 percent LTV loan. Flippers like me want easier access to soft-money loans and property loans without a great amount of hassle or documentation. Consider that a qualified buyer can walk into a Mercedes dealership, have a credit report pulled, sign a few papers, and drive away with a $120,000 asset in about an hour. Try doing that with real estate today. We have an aging housing stock, a shortage of move-in homes, and a need for investors to renovate those properties. But that's hard to do without financing.